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January 6, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 6, 2012

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FL ORI DA JEWISH NEWS Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ......................... ... ... .. 6A Synagogue Directory ............. 7A 9 B nat llfflzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B COS Scholar- in-Residence Phil McAuliffe/Polaris With 603 dreidels spinning simultaneously, the world record for most Chanukah dreidels spun simultaneously in the same room (541) appears to be topped by Conservative Jewish high schoolers at the United Synagogue Youth's annual international convention in Philadelphia, Dec. 28, 2011. It will take some time for the "Guinness Book of World Records" to verify and authenticate the claim. I have a little dreidel By Deborah Hirsch Jewish Exponent PHILADELPHIA--The buzz of more than 800 high school students herded into a huge center city hotel ballroom at the annual United Synagogue Youth international convention quieted as the lights began to dim. On a screen at the front of the room, words scrolled across a black galaxy-- "StarWars"-style. Currently, the screen read, the world record for largest number of dreidels spun simultaneously is 541, set by Temple Emmanuel in Cherry Hill, N.J., in 2005. Many other groups have attempted to break that record, the video continued, but none has been officially deemed suc- cessful, "... until today/" The teens roared, pounding tables and standing up to pump fists in the air. They counted down with the video: 3, 2, 1. Hundreds of colorful plastic dreidels clattered onto the tables. Each had to spin for a full 10 seconds to count toward the record. One girl pat- ted a boy next to her on the shoulder as Dreidel on page 18A Haredi violence in Beit Shemesh catches Israel's attention By Marcy Oster JERUSALEM (JTA)--For several years now, the Jerusa- lem suburb of Belt Shemesh has been the site of on-again, off-again religious violence. But it wasn't until the plight of a fearful 8-year-old girl from a Modern Ortho- dox immigrant family from America was broadcast on t"- Israel's Channel 2 last week- end that the religious tensions in Belt Shemesh captured the nation's attention, including that of Israel's prime minister and its president. In the broadcast, the girl, Na'ama Margolis, told a re- porter that she is afraid to walk the 300 yards from her home to her Modern Orthodox girls' school for fear that the haredi Orthodox men who protest outside of the school will, hurt her. Video showed Na'ama's mother encourag- ing her to walk the short way to school punctuated by the girl's whimpers and cries of "No, No." Some haredi residents of Belt Shemesh, a suburb of some 80,000 people, are upset about the opening in September of a new Modern Orthodox girls' school, Orot, across the street from their neighborhood. Confronta- tions between haredi Or- thodox activists and Modern Orthodox opposite the school have waxed and waned since the beginning of the school year, and often resulted in violence. Haredi protesters have thrown eggs and bags of Kobi Gideon/Flash90/JTA Haredi Orthodox men argue with secular lsraelis Dec. 26, 2011 in Beit Shemesh following demands that authorities crack down on religious extremists who want stricter gender segregation in the city. "shiksas." Haredi opponents of the school say the girls and their mothers dress immod- estly, with sleeves and skirts that are not sufficiently long. After Margolis' story aired over the weekend, the dispute in Belt Shemesh became na- tional news and the violence ratcheted up a notch. On Dec. 25, haredi rioters surrounded and threw stones at city workers removing signs calling for the separation t t ir1 t ] excrem, oun il t  .on city streets. __. "" ....... activists put up new signs to replace them, the policewho returnedto remove them Dec. 26 encountered ri- oting by about 300 haredi men who threw stones at police and burned trash cans, according to Haaretz. Fisticuffs also broke out when news teams from two Is- raeli television channels were attacked by haredi extremists when they attempted to film in the city on Dec. 25 and 26. On the evening of Dec. 27, Violence on page 18A Award-winning columnist, novelist and nonfiction writer James Carroll visits Congrega- tion Ohev Shalom on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21, as the 2012 Dr. Edward S. Ackerman Memorial Scholar- in-Residence. Author of the best-selling "Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews (A History)" and the Na- tional Book Award-winning memoir of the Vietnam War era, "An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us," his most recent book, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World" has been named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book. The theme for this year's COS Scholar-in-Residence weekend is "Christian Reck- oning With Anti-Semitism," and begins with an erev Shabbat dinner at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. Advance reservations are required for the dinner, which is $18 for adults and $12 for children age 12 and under. All other sessions with James Carroll are open to the public at no charge. Shabbat evening services begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, after which Carroll will speak on "The Roots of Christian Hatred of the Jews," reaching into the Christian Scripture to show how hatred of the Jews was born and is still preached. On Saturday morning, Jan. 21, Torah study will be at 9 a.m., followed by services at 9:30 a.m.and Carroll's talkon"The Shoah as a Turning Point," James Carroll connecting the Holocaust to Christian beliefs over the centuries and to the eventual vindication of the Jews under Vatican II. COS is inviting the com- munity to conclude Shabbat with Havdalah at 7 p.m. Sat- urday, followed by Carroll's final presentation, "The Jews and the New Christian Faith," discussing the way in which Christian faith must change and anti-Semitism be routed out. A dessert reception will follow. The Dr. Edward S. Acker- man Memorial Scholar-in- Residence weekend is funded by an endowment by Dr. Ackerman'swidow, Dr. Shelley Fleet, and their children, Brad, Andrew and Hillary. For more information or to make reservations for the erev Shabbat dinner, contact the Ohev Shalom office at 407-298-4650 or office@ Ways to further environmentalism Ron Kaplan New Jersey Jewish News As much fun as the holiday season can be, it is neverthe- less one of the biggest offend- ers when it comes to wasteful behavior. Wrapping paper is admired for a minute but is soon shredded and discarded. Greeting cards that represent money and resources are cast aside after a few days. Why not wrap the presents using the Sunday comics section and send paperless e-cards? These are just a couple of the suggestions offered in "Simple Actions for Jews to Help Green the Planet: Jews, Judaism, and the Environ- ment," Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins's latest in a long line of books on social and spiritual matters. Elkins--whose body of work includes the best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul"--has come to the "par- ty" relatively late and gives full credit to his twin sons, Yoni and Pesach Jeremy, who work with The Teva Learning Alliance, an organization that Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins says "green' is a code word to make sure this planet is here for our children and grandchildren." teaches school-aged children about Judaism and the envi- ronment. (Eikins dedicated "Simple Actions" to the twins: "[F]irst my sons, then my students, now my teachers.") Green on page 19A